Archive for August, 2008

Smash TV: Big Brother Week 7

Sunday, August 31st, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Big Brother 10

With about three weeks to go before the September 16 finale, BB10 is getting pretty treacherous and, of course, incredibly trashy and filled with drama. This week Dan the devious Catholic high school teacher/football coach was HOH, and he hatched a plan that was designed to solifidy his “Renegade” alliance he has with Memphis. And it worked, although it was weird to see him alternately look terrified but, like a Puppetmaster, tell others what to do during the POV meeting or else risk being put on the block. When Chenbot told the houseguests at the start of Thursday’s live telecast that there would be a double eviction, they were clearly unsettled. This meant that a “fast forward” week would be done in one show, and Chenbot deftly rushed through an HOH competition, another pair put up on the block, a POV event (which we didn’t see), and then another live vote to kick someone off. (Whew! Give Mrs. Les Moonves an Emmy!)  In the end, it was Portuguese Princess Michelle who was initially tossed out, and Read the rest of this entry »

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McCain’s VP Pick: Calling All Hillary Supporters

Friday, August 29th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Morning news anchors are tripping over themselves trying to figure out who is going to be John McCain’s VP pick. This on the day after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. What should be a day after to go through highlights from that speech and provide some post-election afterglow instead becomes a masterfully calculated announcement from the McCain folks to drive the news cycle today.

Breaking news at 7:39 am PDT: Matt Lauer of NBC News and Today announced that McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. The 44-year old staunch conservative and mother of five, has been in office for two years. Chuck Todd of NBC News said just an hour ago that three years ago, she was just a mayor of a small town in Alaska. This morning she will appear in Dayton, OH with McCain at a rally designed, as only the GOP can muster, to present what is a rather bold and shrewd choice for the Arizona Senator and his campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

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Locate Campaign Donors In Your Neighborhood: Fundrace 2008

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Fundrace 2008

Care to know if your well-off stepmother is playing a blue or red card? Has your office mate led you astray by donating to the “other” side? Want to know at which party your favorite celeb has thrown millions?

Find out by using this fully interactive Fundrace 2008 map detailing campaign contributions and their sources.

Drag the map to find the hotspot of your choice, and then click to find the juicy details.  You can search Fundrace by name, address, zip code, occupation or employer.

Interesting sidenote: Barack Obama donated $4,600 to Hillary Clinton, then Hillary donated half this amount ($2,300) to Barack.

Wow, this can become addictive.

[Via The Huffington Post]

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Audi Volkswagen Timing Belt “Slip” Spells Class Action Suit

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with 241 Comments

Audi TT SMASHgods

The Class Action

In the Class Action filed in 2007, Plaintiff alleges that VW knowingly concealed, suppressed and omitted to disclose to consumers that Class Vehicles contained defectively designed timing belt tensioners, timing belts and/or associated parts (”timing belt system”), and that VW failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the appropriate service interval for replacement of the timing belt system in Settlement Class Vehicles. VW has denied any defect, wrongdoing or liability whatsoever and deny that this lawsuit could properly be certified as a class action for trial.

Has yours snapped yet?

Mine did. And it was a thoroughly sickening and indignant episode that occurred during an extremely heavy commute time, on a dangerous and well-traveled curve in the road, along one of the most congested streets in all of Read the rest of this entry »

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Kissin Girls in the Summer of ‘08

Sunday, August 24th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

Katy Perry

Ah, the end of summer. Time to pack in all those pool parties, the outdoor barbecues, and maybe have one more fling out on the beach before –ugh—school or work starts in earnest in September. Summers are, after all, made for relaxing and not really having a worry in the world. High gas prices? Pschaw! Georgia being pelted by Russian surface-to-air-missiles? Where’s Georgia? (Or where’s Russia?) Democratic Convention starting tomorrow in Denver? Ugh. What a snoozefest. Offshore drilling as a strategy to help the energy crisis? Offshore what? Dude, let me get back to my tunes. Don’t we want to remember this time for all the cool tunes that summers are made for?

There is some truth in this. Every summer does seem to have a song that gets a lot of airplay and seems to blare out of every speaker, window sill, bodega, monster SUV, or requisite poolside. Only now we don’t really say “airplay” too much anymore, now that we are in the MP3 age. That iTunes is the most preeminent venue for consuming music and, in the parlance of the record industry, it’s the place where all the new music “drops” every Tuesday. And given that a lot of young people are home during the summer, what better time to focus on those songs that linger, those tunes that you just can’t get out of your head, no matter how hard you try. Read the rest of this entry »

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DIEBOLD Admits e-Voting Machines Have Lost Votes for 10 Years

Sunday, August 24th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Defective Diebold Machine

Your DIEBOLD Vote Hasn’t Counted For a Decade

Are you a lucky lotto winner? I hope so.  With the recent announcement from the e-Voting champions themselves stating that their e-machines are inherently flawed and that they have been dropping votes for years, the chances of getting your vote through and making it count are as slim as they’ve ever been - but for a change, you’re now painfully aware.

Rabbit's Foot

The logic error is present in both types of voting machines made by the company: touchscreens and optical scan systems. These machines are used in 34 states (1,750 jurisdictions). For example, in Ohio’s March primaries, it is known that the machines temporarily lost 1,000 ballots.

The e-Voting machines “contain a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point”.

Clearly the most shameful element of this scandal and recent admission is that Diebold (ahem… now Premier Voting Solutions) has previously denied any malfunction or impropriety in their e-machines, and they have continued to Read the rest of this entry »

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Hey! Where Was My Text Message About Biden?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Obama SMS

I did not get my text message –until 1:04 am PST. After a long day in which CNN and every other news organization was chomping at the bit big time wondering who Barack Obama would select as his vice-presidential running mate, we finally have word that it is Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. That bit of news came courtesy of CNN, and chief Washington correspondent John King at 12:42 am EST –a full three hours earlier–from a well-placed source. It was a bit disappointing that the news had leaked and that it didn’t go to the supporters first via SMS.  Millions of Obama supporters who signed up for this bit of news was significant because it symbolized the Obama campaign’s taking this to the people first and notifying them before anyone else.

My cellphone buzzed at this ungodly hour while I was already sleeping. I knew what it was, and I didn’t bother getting up to read the SMS. I knew who Obama had chosen, and in fact, I had just switched off the TV with a bleary-eyed Larry King with the same talking heads that he had on six hours earlier. Honestly, CNN had been apoplectic and snappy all day long, promising that “at any minute now” they would tell us who the VP pick would be. That meant that all of the newscasts featured mostly speculation, but also updates from the also-rans like Tim Keane and Evan Bayh, who sent word that Obama had called them to say they would not be the choice. How do I know all this? I had CNN on virtually all day too, thinking too that they would have the answer first, even though I tried to convince myself that my cellphone would go off first. I was wrong. I was misled. But OK, let’s get on with this. Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Big Brother 10 Week 6

Friday, August 22nd, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Big Brother 10

April has been banished. One of the most vain, needy, self-centered contestants of any BB season was tossed out in a 6-0 vote. It wasn’t hard to achieve. She had simply revolted too many people and yet could not understand why –in her chat with sex partner/showmance partner Ollie—anyone would not like her enough to boot off. That’s how deep April was. The bleach blonde finance manager (at a car dealership) from Arizona who came on strong at the beginning, who formed alliances, then ruined them, then isolated herself altogether, really had no allies by the end. Perhaps she had Michelle’s sympathy, if not vote, and that’s only because she was the only woman left who spoke to her. April tried to get Dan’s vote and even hinted she’d give him money she won weeks ago, but Dan deftly exposed the fact that someone offered him money (it could have been Jerry, the other person on the block) for his vote. In the end he didn’t use the POV and created a little excitement in the run up to last night’s unanimous vote. For the third week now, Dan becomes the unlikely wild card vote.  Other developments this week: Read the rest of this entry »

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Become Web Dead: Erase Your Online Identity in 10 Steps:

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 | SMASH HowTo!, SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with 65 Comments

Become Web Dead

The Scenario

So you went a little nuts on your MySpace profile - you posted your age, your interests, some of your funniest home movies and the secret spots you like to frequent on Saturday following your morning dog walk. It felt freeing and liberating to tout your spot in this world and advertise your status to your online “friends”.

And it exploded from there: you started posting in public forums without hesitating to include your full, given name (so you can get credit for your impassioned responses), then proceeded to open numerous accounts on the Facebooks, Friendsters, LinkedIns and Meebos of the world. You even dropped your digits at one point on Craigslist, where they remain cached to this day on Yahoo!. There’s no question about it: you’re now officially “out there”.

But as your friends began to accumulate and as your forum posts became popular (and distributed), your online presence began to balloon to uncontrollable (and uncomfortable) proportions. Personal commentary, asides and intimate information usually reserved for loved ones was now on public display - an inadvertent consequence of your own making.

And with the recent advent of employers checking potential job candidates online before making their hiring decisions, it might be wise for the current job-seeker to Read the rest of this entry »

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The Twilight of Condi Rice

Monday, August 18th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Condi Rice

Three years almost to this week, while Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, Condoleezza Rice was shopping for designer shoes in Manhattan. She was on vacation, though as a high security official she surely received updates about disasters like the horrendous floods that took place in Louisiana. She still attended the Broadway play that night, “Spam-a-lot”.

Ten days ago, the Bush White House watched helplessly as Russian tanks rolled into central Georgia in what has now been called the most serious showdown with Moscow since the end of the Cold War. By all accounts, the attack on Georgian troops inside their territory along the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was savage and brutal. But it wasn’t a surprise. These borders have been disputed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The once-familiar saber rattling finally roared one bloody afternoon. Not only did the US help hasten this event, but it completely failed in dealing with it in the days that followed. Diplomatic disaster of the first order? No –that’s much too kind. Read the rest of this entry »

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Finnish Blogger Cuts Google Out of Google Search

Monday, August 18th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Google Minus Google

Want to perform a Google search without Google results?  Apparently someone does.

And that someone would be Finnish blogger Timo Paloheimo, who has created, ahem, “Google minus Google“.

The site
has
emerged as
a reactionary response
The site has emerged as a reactionary response to a recent article written by NYT’s Miguel Helft.  Helft’s piece detailed the enormous presence of Google domains in search engine results (Knol, Blogger, and YouTube) and the potential for the company to achieve “Media Company” standing on the web, primarily as a result of Google’s reach and search engine prowess.

As it stands, when you perform a Google search on the web, inevitably you’ll find (mixed in with other results) YouTube videos, Blogger blogs and other Google-owned enterprises that may or may not capture your next click.

Clicks equal visits; visits equal potential advertising revenue through…clicks.

Timo could have no more of this.

And it didn’t take much time for his site to catch on: Read the rest of this entry »

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Spies In The Sky Say Pay As You Drive

Sunday, August 17th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Pay As You Drive

The Telegraph has disclosed that the British government is pushing ahead with plans for a national road-pricing scheme, including testing “spy in the sky” technology.

Imagine:  having to think about some chilling, omniscient force in the sky tracking (and calculating costs of) your journey to pick up a six pack of Heineken from your market of choice.  Then, imagine having to consider such big-brother monitoring in an environment where you’re already paying some of the highest taxes on the planet, living amongst thousands of always-on CCTV cameras, and being sent letters of disapproval if you use bandwidth-hogging applications on your own PC.

It’s true:  British motorists already pay some of the highest taxes in the world and with government finances under severe pressure, the “pay-as-you-drive” scheme could provide a Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Improve NBC’s Olympic Coverage: A Top 10 List

Sunday, August 17th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Olympics Top 10

NBC probably doesn’t look forward to this week. After posting boffo ratings for its coverage, there is evidence that this has been very much related to the eighth wonder that is Michael Phelps. Phelps last night won his eighth gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, as the US team defeated the Australians in the 400 medley relay.

NBC has
certainly
milked each
and every Phelps win
NBC has certainly milked each and every Phelps win, and it’s worth following his every move as he made it to the Water Cube, iPod in his ears, or putting a microphone in front of him to ask him (ugh) what “was going through his head”, etc., as he picked up yet another medal. NBC has stayed very close to Phelps’s Mom and his older sisters too, even dispatching analyst Cris Collinsworth to sit next to her at the swim events and dedicating a camera and microphone to record Mama Phelps’s every utterance. She has become almost the super media star that her son has, posing for photos with mega luminaries such as Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd and Lebron James, all NBA stars and members of the US Olympic basketball team. Phelpsmania is everywhere.

Now with the swim events over, NBC’s ratings are almost certain to drop. As we here in the US of A cope with Phelps phever and deal with withdrawal, here is a list of suggestions we’d submit to NBC to improve its coverage in this, the second and final week of the Beijing games: Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Big Brother 10 Week 5

Saturday, August 16th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »


Big Brother 10

Michelle was HOH last week, and her first order of business was to “win this” for Jessie. She wanted to avenge his ouster the week before by going after Libra and Keesha, both of whom she blamed for this. Their heads were quickly put on the block. Picking Libra was too easy. She has proved to be the ultimate whiner and screamer, having others (like Keesha) do her dirty work, complain when she doesn’t do well in physical challenges, and, just be generally miserable and bossy. Even on the evening that Jessie got voted out, she got into a nasty yelling match with former ally, April, who gracefully called her, among other things, a scallywag and ‘ho -this was seconded by her cipher/nightly fornicator Ollie.

Libra certainly has done a lot to merit all the resentment. The problem is that Read the rest of this entry »

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Top 10 Symbian Apps: Breathe New Life Into Your Nokia Smartphone

Friday, August 15th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with 5 Comments


Apple’s iPhone, and other subsequent touch-screen clones, have been hogging much of the high-end smartphone spotlight ever since the iPhone’s initial launch - and even more so after the recent media-hyped iPhone 3G release. And with little to no response from Nokia (by way of a competing piece of hardware), it would appear our Finnish friends have been hiding in the wings while the show goes on.

[Note: At the time of this writing, two new Nokia smartphones are set to be announced this coming Monday (August 18th): the N79 and N85 - both phones being touted as possibilities by the mobile community.

In late 2007, information regarding Nokia’s ongoing touchscreen development emerged from the horse’s mouth in the form of a marketing video shown at a London Expo. Nokia Batman Phone Later, filed patent information (and images) demonstrating a “Haptikos Tactile Touchscreen” leaked its way onto many websites virtually confirming Nokia’s intentions to develop not only a touchscreen device, but one that would sort of “touch” you back.

And if that wasn’t enough of a smoking gun, Nokia has $trategically placed a mystery touchscreen device (Nokia Tube?) in the hands of our universally loved, James Bond-esque vigilante superhero in the recent blockbuster, “Dark Knight”.

But while the ordinary citizens of Gotham wait for Nokia’s next jaw-dropper to emerge, third-party application development continues to flourish for our current (and much loved) N and E series Symbian S60 devices.

UPDATE:  CLICK HERE TO SEE WHY NOKIA WON’T NAME ITS PHONES

Below is a “Top 10″ (alphabetical) list of some of the Read the rest of this entry »

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Found! La Chupacabra!

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

UPDATE 9/2/09: NEWS! CHUPACABRA CAUGHT!

Click HERE for the story (external link).

Urban legend or real creature lurking out there somewhere, ready to attack and maim little kids? The other day we brought you the phenomenon of the vampire cats. We now have, possibly, a vampire dog, or something that resembles one.

If you grew up as a wide-eyed kid in a Spanish-speaking household in the US or Latin America, you surely know what the Chupacabra is. This is what your parents told you to scare the bejeezus out of you. You don’t want to go to bed like I told you? Don’t want to eat your veggies? Look out, the Chupacabra is coming to get you in the middle of the night.

For those unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, surely you have heard of urban legends or myths out there. Like Bigfoot. Like the Loch Ness Monster. Societies feel the need to create these ideas as a diversion, as a way to provide constructs of fear. On a practical level, the fact that people choose to spread these beliefs does not suggest they actually trust them. It is in the very dispersion of these fears that someone –usually, a snotty-nosed kid who doesn’t know better—will get so scared that he will instantly change his behavior. We spin these tales, adding a little detail here and there, and they get passed on to future generations of trembling toddlers who misbehave or get out of control.

The Chupacabra, which literally translates as “goat sucker”, does not have the long history of Bigfoot or Loch Ness; it’s a thoroughly modern and Latin creation. First reports of its sightings –if, in fact, you believe it to be true—date back to 1990, and there have been reports of people seeing it in places such as Puerto Rico, Chile and the US Southwest.

There has been no real agreement as to what species the Chupacabra is. Farmers have
taken
pictures of
unclassifiable dog-like creatures
that attack livestock
Farmers have taken pictures of unclassifiable dog-like creatures that attack livestock, but some of these have been found to be coyotes. Others believe the Chupacabra is a reptile-like being, about 4 feet tall with gray scaly skin. And it hops. You can clearly see how these legends can get spun a bit awry. A hopping reptile? A mangy coyote? What is it exactly and why can’t anyone provide real up-close proof that this thing really exists?

Well leave it to none other than the news authorities at CNN to provide this footage of what they call the Chupacabra. In it you can see this odd-looking coyote-like animal running. It certainly looks Read the rest of this entry »

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